So, last week Joe Schreiber did this great post about the book he’d like to write, but is never going to. His is called The Survivors Club.
Mine is called Player.
It’s the story of a young black man in the Jim Crow south. He’s a talented musician and is starting to pick up good money playing piano in honky tonks. But then one night he breaks up a lynching, a man dies in the process and he has to flee. He runs to Washington DC where he seeks help from his former girlfriend, only he has to be REALLY careful, because she’s passing and is now married to a US Senator.
She helps him get enough money to make a run for it, and in the end, decides to go with him. They marry and Our Hero finds himself alone in Paris in the Ex-Patriot community of African Americans, living the high life and playing piano for the likes of Dancer and Jazz Queen Josephine Baker.
All is fantastic, until Fascism begins to rise and Hitler begins his March. Our Hero is contacted by the US Government. They want him to spy for them. As a musician he can travel with a fair amount of impunity and pass coded messages in the form of musical scores (Josephine Baker actually did this). Our Hero, although bitter about how he was treated in America, agrees HItler and the Nazis are much worse. He sends his wife and kids back to the US, and finds himself a down-and-out white ex-pat to act as a front to set up a Jazz club where he can play and use as a base. Problem is the guy’s a boozer and has a tendancy to get mixed up with women who turn out to be trouble.
Then comes the invasion of Paris. Our Hero wants out, but his handlers have a job for him. A major member of the German resistance has escaped the Nazis and is on his way to Paris to rejoin his wife. Our Hero is asked to get to the Resistor, help him hide, find his wife and get the pair of them the BLEEP out of town.
Our Hero’s quite stunned to find out the Resistor’s wife is currently hanging around with his boozing front man. Our Hero has to get her away from the front man, get her back with her husband and get the pair of them out of Paris. He’s almost not quick enough, and has himself to flee with his front man whom he can’t quite bring himself to leave behind. When he’s sober, he’s a decent guy and good in a fight, and he makes great cover.
Together, they end up setting up a new nightclub in Morocco, ostensibly to wait out the war.
Yes, Our Hero’s name is Sam.
And in the “Where do you get your ideas from?” department: This all came from the initial realization, after watching the movie for the umpteenth time that Sam MUST have known the letters were in the piano. They would have affected the tone.
C.L. Anderson has been known to tell people she lives in a stately Victorian home on a windswept island in Lake Superior with her three sisters and their pet wolf Manfred. She has also been known to tell people she is a science fiction writer living near Ann Arbor, Michigan with her husband, son and cat. What is known is that she is the author of the novel Bitter Angels and that she’s very much looking forward to many more.